How often should you weigh yourself, when losing weight?
There are some best practices. But it's not 1 size fits all.
Knowing what you're really trying to 'get' from the scales is a key factor in determining the right frequency for you.
Watch this video to reap the benefits of routine weighing while avoiding the mental and emotional drama.
Download this worksheet to help you change your relationship with the scales: https://livemorelife.kartra.com/page/77ws
How often should you weigh yourself when you're trying to lose weight?
It's a question I get asked all the time. And in this video, I'm going to give you my best answer based on my 13 years involved in the weight loss industry. But before I do, let me ask you...
How often do you weigh yourself now?
What's your experience of doing that? By that, I mean, how do you react?
What if it goes up or goes down or stays the same?
In other words, what do you make it mean?
When it comes to losing weight, and when it comes to weighing yourself, there are some best practices - you know, whether you're losing weight or aiming to prevent weight gain, just monitoring - there are some best practices, but it's not one size fits all. And knowing what actually works for you and what you're actually trying to get out of it is a key factor in determining what is the right frequency for you.
It also determines - this relationship you have with the scales - how likely you are to actually go through and reach your ideal weight, to live at goal or how likely you are to quit and give up before you get there. Don't underestimate it. It's an important piece of information.
So are you the type of person who gets frustrated when the scales haven't moved or deleted moved in the way you want? Are you frequently discouraged by small fluctuations and gains? You know, it's important to watch out for weighing to see if it's working or you know, to understand am I doing it right? The answer to if it's working is really a much deeper question that the scales can't really tell you. Right? It's much more than just that, 'are the numbers going up or down? Are they moving in the direction that I want'.
And I'd also encourage you to watch out for weighing to 'tell me I've been good'. If you're looking for validation, or a sense of accomplishment, if you're looking for a pick me up, if you're looking for a mood booster. Watch out if you're looking for the scales to give you permission to feel good about yourself.
I want you to know that, that option is completely separate from the number on the scale and is always available to you. Learning how to do that I think is one of the key things to help you build resilience, fortitude, and to realise that we have to love ourselves now! In the body we're in. So that we can care for it in a way that moves us towards our goals. So watch out if you're using the scales to decide whether or not you should feel good or bad.
You should also watch out. If you get a sense of dread or anxiety before weighing in. You know, are you mentally beating yourself up about choices you've made or decisions you've made up until that time? Are you crossing your fingers and hoping it doesn't show or hoping that it's okay.
Maybe you've been avoiding getting on the scales at all. Now, I did this for a long time. I wasn't ready to see the result. You know? Are you frightened of checking in? And if you are, if you've said yes to any of the things I've talked about using it for having strong emotional reactions, using it to tell you whether you're doing it right or you're on track or you've been good or if you've been avoiding it all together, if you've been having greater anxiety before getting on... all of these signs are signs that there might be some unhealthy habits, some mental habits. There might be an unhealthy focus on the result, rather than focusing on the actions, the behaviour, the choices that you've made, that led to that results.
Jack Dixon has a famous quote that I really like. He says, "If you focus on the results, you'll never change. If your focus on change, you'll get results."
So the real question becomes not whether or how often you should weigh yourself when trying to lose weight or prevent weight gain, but Why? Why do you want to weigh yourself? What's the purpose for you?
I believe that a healthy purpose, the point of weighing yourself, is simply to gather data. If it's as neutral as asking yourself, what's my relationship with gravity like today?
How does this piece of information I'm going to get fit in with my overall pattern of choices? How does it fit in with all of the other data that I'm collecting? It's just one data point amongst many. It's not capable of telling you if it's working or not.
So why do it?
Well, there are some benefits. If you can make the number neutral... now it is neutral. It's not emotionally charged at all. You know, the danger is when checking in weighing yourself regularly on the scales becomes a shortcut to Is it working? Am I good? Am I bad or not? I should just shout out here to all the people who are weighing in regularly, at whatever interval you happen to be already weighing, and it's just a number without any strong emotional or mental reaction. You know you think of it a bit like knowing the weather report, you know, everyone's always very interested in the temperature, like the number. And then there's all these other things like humidity and wind direction and wind speed and air pressure, things like that. And most of us kind of pay no real mental attention to like, which way the winds blowing, how humid is it going to be, right? There's no real emotional response to those. Now, if you're thinking about your weight the same way, you're probably on the right track. It's just one point of perhaps useful information. And it's really any useful in a pattern or a trend over time.
So my answer for how often should you wait when trying to lose weight to prevent weight gain is as often as necessary to create a realistic, emotionally neutral view of your progress over time?
Are you comparing it with the last four data points? Are you looking back over week, over a month, over a couple of months to see what's changed? What's the pattern?
So in terms of timing, right, there's a danger in weighing too often. When people do that - I'm looking at you, if you're a person who's weighing multiple times a day or even every day - it can be too much. If it leads you to making false connections between the number and your behaviour. Okay.
I've had so many people tell me over the years... it's like, 'oh, I had a really big meal and I got on the scales and didn't really show yet, Oh, that's okay'. Right? Or, you know, 'I had a blowout this week and then I'm dreading stepping on the scales'. It doesn't work like that. It's not one eating occasion that's going to influence your results. Right?
When we see it changing (and I'll tell you a moment how much it does change) we often draw connections to things that aren't actually relevant. We say this meal or this choice, or this big workout, I did, this exercise created this result? No, this result is the sum total of a lot of information in your body and about what's been happening over the last period of time - the last day, or the last week, etc. So looking at a single data point a single result on its own, it's never helpful.
So when you're having lots of them - you checking in regularly - and are making decisions based on that number, you know... now I should say unless you have a medical reason. You know, you have kidney failure, or you're on dialysis or some other condition where you really have to monitor your weight very, very carefully to know how much fluid to drink or something like that, yes, sure. But in terms of weight loss, in terms of healthy living, in terms of preventing weight gain, right? In the absence of those medical conditions, or a good medical reason for weighing regularly, then too many data points often leads you to false.... down false rabbit holes if you like.
So we don't want too many. So we don't want to be weighing too much We also don't want to few. Some people might weigh once a month, for instance. And although it is okay if your general pattern is, your general trend is, to stay even or up and down around the same number - half a kilo, a kilo or something like that, perfectly okay - but for many people, if it's too infrequent, it's like once a month or so or less, it can be very difficult to be able to understand the numbers of a single data point. Again, because we don't know if that's just a normal daily fluctuation on that day.
Again, you have to look at the pattern of the trend over time. So if you're weighing monthly, how does it compare with the last three months? You're weighing weekly? How does it compare with the last three, four or five weeks? You're weighing daily? How does it compare with the same day the same time last week and the week before that?
My recommendation is for people to weigh once a week - this is when most people weigh once a week, the same day, the same time, the same sort of situation. You know, if you weigh first thing in the morning, weigh first thing in the morning, right? Last thing before bed, weigh last thing before bed. Generally it is considered first thing in the morning, you first get up is the best choice.
But, you know, again, we're going to just look at the pattern of the trend over time. So you want to look at that pattern over a month, not even just a week to week you want to look at the pattern over the month.
Now, some short studies have shown particularly in people who are living at a healthy weight and preventing weight gain, that weighing daily can actually help. Right? That can be helpful if, if you compare the result from the same day and the same time last week, and the last few days and times of that week, previously... not to yesterday. Does that make sense to everyone?
Fluctuations are a normal part of weight movement, right? Whether we're losing, maintaining or gaining, your body weight can fluctuate as much as two kilos, even within the same day, and certainly between days, depending on fluid and food and hormones, and how our body is processing everything. Be aware that there's big fluctuations, without any change, to 'Am I following my diet correctly? Am I exercising enough? Am I getting enough water, etc.' (Okay, medical associations aside).
So it's not telling you anything useful unless you're looking at the overall pattern. Now, I should point out that, you know, even for women looking over the month, you'll notice typically, so menstruating women tend to have variation according to their menstrual cycle. So often it'll be you'll usually retain some fluid and be a little bit heavier during your period week, you know, the few days before and around, before and after. Okay, that's normal. That's what happens.
So we don't want to take it as meaning anything else, apart from, from an extra bit of fluid hanging around. So we really want to look at the pattern over time.
And the real measure of success is to focus on behaviour. We should be tying in to the results and this pattern, this trend line over time, with... 'What are the behavioural changes that I've been making on purpose. What did I choose to implement this week? What one thing did I adjust? Have I done it often enough yet to get a result? To know whether it works well for me in terms of my satisfaction, my nutrition, my energy levels, my body's response to that food choice or exercise.
Have I done it long enough to see a result. Have I been doing it for about three weeks? Does it start to feel normal? Is it easy for me? What do I think and I feel when I make this choice? This is much more important information than the number in the end. Because we have to train in changes that we're going to liv e with for life.
The only way to do that is focus on behaviour. It's what we do consistently, that matters. It's not what you do once...and run off to the scales, and check the result.
It's also important to point out here that plateaus are normal, and not a sign that you're doing anything wrong. You might have a period of time where the scales stay the same. This is particularly true the first few weeks of increased exercise or if you've dramatically increased your exercise, often you'll exchange fat for muscle mass. The scales don't really know the difference. The number may be the same, but your size may change.
So it's really important to think about... do I have other measures of success? As I said before, this weight, the number is just one data point. Can you compare it to all the other data points? Have you taken your measurements? How are your clothes fitting? Right? Even if you don't have this size, if you don't have the exact measurements - have a weigh-in outfit. Have the one that was it's firm to the point of uncomfortable, and then it's comfortable, and then it's loose, then it's falling off, right? And pick a new outfit, if you're losing, for instance. Think about your clothes.
Think about other measures, right? Take your waist measurement. For most people. It's the metabolically active fat around our waistline that is the one that is associated with lots of things like coronary heart disease, and lots of long term chronic health conditions. So have you checked it? Is it in the normal range? Is it in the high range here? In the high risk? Are you in the moderate risk?
If you've got that one, also take your hip measurement. So you can check things like your waist to hip ratio. So if you don't know what that one is...you divide your waist measurement in centimetres by your hip measurement in centimetres. And then look at that ratio. If your waist to hip ratio is above 0.9 for men or 0.85 for women, that indicates you're at higher risk for poor health outcomes.
You should also look at your waist to height ratio. Divide your waist measurement by your height in centimetres. And research shows that for good health, maintaining a waist circumference of less than half your height - so the ratio of no more than 0.5 when you do that division - is recommended. Is it in that range?
Other measures exist. What about your fitness or your functional movement? I mean, in terms of your exercise, are you doing 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity every week? That's the recommendation. More if you're losing. That's just good health, 150 minutes moderate intensity - that's huffing and puffing - each week.
How's your functional movement? What can you do? Can you get down on the floor and get back up again? Can you get in and out of a chair? Can you climb the stairs without getting breathless? That's a measure of your success as well. How many stairs? How far? How fast can you go?
What about your overall energy and vitality in life? How are you feeling? The most amazing things I noticed in my journey when I lost so much of my weight, I really got a very clear picture of how certain foods really impact impacted and influenced my mood, my energy the next day or the day after. Often there's a two day effect from certain foods. So I'm very aware of that now.
And also, it's such a surprise to so many people, when they start losing, they start increasing, you know, particularly healthy foods - adding more vegetables and things into their day for instance - very often within a couple of days, they feel better. Their skin starts clearing up. They have more energy. They're more alert. okay? Now we're talking about quality of life. It's so much more important than the number on the scales.
And finally, the big change, the one that I always encourage people to focus on, is habit change. Have I taken the habits that aren't helping in my life - the ones that aren't leading me towards the future I want to create, or towards the goals that I want to achieve - and how am I changing them into a way that do lead me towards the goals I want? In a way that I enjoy doing? That feels easy that I can sustain for life? How much am I creating a healthy life versus how much am I losing weight?
Okay so, in the end, you get to choose what is the right frequency of weighing for you. But I really encourage you to check in...what is your relationship with the scales now? Do you have a strong emotional or mental reaction in either anticipation or response to the result? If so, you might want to think about scaling it back, shifting your focus to other areas.
If, however, you're a data miner, you just get on as part of your regular routine. It's just part of your everyday life or every week life, every month life - once a week, once a month, once a day, however it is for you - and you just check in and notice and look at the patterns and the trends over time. Again, without strong emotional involvement. It's just an indication of how things are trending. If you compare it to all the other information, then Okay, you probably have the right frequency set.
If you're not sure, I would encourage you to start with once per week, the same day in time and compare it to the previous four or five results that you already have. And you can't really tell, you shouldn't perhaps be making changes until you've got about a month worth of results. Okay?
What do you want your relationship with the scales to be? Are they a tool that can simply help you when interpreted correctly? Or is it something else? If it's something else, watch out for that, because like a tool, if used improperly, they can cause great damage. I see so many people wanting to give up, to throw it all in, to quit when they think the scales aren't telling them what they 'should' be telling them. And almost always, it's simply a misinterpretation of what the scales can tell you. It can tell you your relationship with gravity, at this point in time, at this air pressure, on this day at this latitude. That's all.
Your choices determine whether you're on track. Your decisions...are they in alignment with your goals? How are you feeling? How's your energy? How are your habits changing? These are much more important.
If you do need to think about changing your relationship with the scales - you've got lots of mental or emotional energy going on - then download the worksheet. It's the one I used in the last video as well. It's my awareness and vision worksheet. You can get the link in the description below.
And finally, are you using the scales for your best interests or against them?
I hope this has been helpful. You can check out more of my work at LiveMoreLife.com.au. And of course, if you're watching on my video blog on YouTube, please subscribe so you get notified of every video. And if you found this helpful, give me a like, give me a reaction. Let me know you're here in the comments. And know that I've maintained my 50 kilo weight loss for over 12 years now. And I do it with ease I do it without stressing, and I don't ever have to worry about the scales. Because I've gotten the behaviour - it's my normal, everyday routine. Of course, now I help other people get out of diet mentality, stop sabotaging their efforts and create a healthy life they can actually live.
So if you need some help, working out the behaviours that are helping, the ones that aren't, the ones you need to adjust, or if you need to learn how to make those changes. sustainable then head to LiveMoreLife.com.au and request a free consultation. Let's have a conversation about it.
All right. So let me know. How often will you weigh? Will you change how often you weigh yourself? And how will you respond to the result? Let me know in the comments.
Have an amazing day. Keep working towards your healthy life. Let the scale simply be a number. Have an amazing day. I'll talk to you soon. Bye for now.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
After losing my 50 kg I've made it my mission to help others transform their minds, overcome emotional eating and create the life they want to be living.